I am getting more jazzed than Miles Teller's commitment to drumming in "Whiplash" for next week's Winnipeg Fringe Festival! And just like Miles Teller's commitment to drumming in "Whiplash", I've also decided to take it upon myself to go to unnecessary lengths to achieve my full potential as an artist in the category of my choosing, which in this case is a W R I T E R.
As a Fringe producer active over the past few years, I've found myself consistently disappointed with the quality of the reviews work receives during the festival. While many media outlets seem to regard their reviews as being exclusively for theatregoers and audiences, I fully believe that reviews are also for the artists involved in the work! For many artists, Fringe is used as a springboard to workshop and further develop their work, and without articulate, thoughtful reviews from writers with a decent understanding of theatre, the reviews we receive can often be less than useful. And I want to change that!
"But Frances," you say, eyeing me critically from your floating donut as you drink Sangria in your backyard swimming pool, "What makes you qualified to write reviews?" Good question, Ashley! Thanks for asking. First of all, how dare you not invite me over. Second of all, many Fringe reviews in mainstream media outlets are written by people with either minimal theatre knowledge, minimal writing experience, or possibly even both. I, however, and not to brag because bragging is one of the seven deadly sins of Indigenous culture, am a trained writer with an actual Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, which means I have 100% full permission from Jesus Christ himself to write things! Thirdly, I am enormously commitment to theatre as an art form on a local, national, and international level and I have the credit card debt and stage door photos of me outside the National Theatre with Benedict Cumberbatch to prove it. Not all of us just sit in pools all day, Ash. PS. Text me.
Basically, I love theatre, and I love Winnipeg, and I believe that theatre in Winnipeg needs thoughtful, intelligent, and critical analysis of its work in order for us to continue to grow and become a destination for innovative, amazing theatre.
These reviews will be FUN. They will be light-hearted and probably full of Julie Taymor shade. They will very likely operate on a scale of Mark Wahlberg's Wahlburgers, which is a baaaarely related inside joke to my own Fringe show, "Riot Resist Revolt Repeat" (come see it!) But most importantly, these reviews will look at each individual show through the lens of its own Universe - I believe that not every play operates under the same rules, and cannot be reviewed in the same way, and I am gonna try my hardest to respect that belief and deliver critiques that are relevant, resonant, and work towards building up and not burning down... basically, the kind of reviews I'd want to read for my own work!
I'm building my Fringe schedule now and it's filling up fast. If you wanna make sure your show gets reviewed, find me & shoot me a message on the platform of your choice! Happy Fringe!